The ongoing eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula was kicked off by a strong earthquake swarm, and it could take another such swarm to end it. That’s one of Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson’s hypotheses about how the eruption could eventually come to a close, but it is indeed just a hypothesis. Experts have oft underlined that there is no reliable way to predict when the eruption will end.
“There are no clear signs that the eruption is ending,” Þorvaldur stated on Bylgjan radio station this morning. Before it began more than three months ago, the eruption was preceded by weeks of strong earthquakes, felt across the capital area and South and West Iceland. Þorvaldur believes another such earthquake swarm could be what stops the eruption, which is located along a rift between two tectonic plates. As the plates move apart, they create tension in the earth’s crust which is released in the form of seismic or volcanic activity.
“Such plate movements appear to have instigated this eruption and I suspect that maybe something similar is required to end it,” Þorvaldur stated. Until such movement happens, the eruption may continue, and experts have already stated that could be years or decades. Until then, the eruption is “like a pipe that’s always open. It’s dripping steadily. And there’s no tap to screw shut. They forgot to buy one,” Þorvaldur joked in the morning interview.
While volcanic activity at the eruption site briefly paused on the night of June 28, it resumed again some hours later. Þorvaldur says there are once more considerable magma jets spewing from the active crater and visible lava flow over a large area, including Meradalir valley.